Stars muffle Marlies, even Finals with Game 2 win

Photo: Christian Bonin

TORONTO ( … The Texas Stars clamped down and evened the Calder Cup Finals with a 2-1 win over the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on Sunday.

Tied at 1-1, the best-of-seven series now shifts to Cedar Park, Texas, with Game 3 scheduled for Tuesday evening (8 p.m. ET, TSN2, NHL Network, Fox Sports Southwest Plus, Leafs Nation Network, NHL Network Radio).

Gavin Bayreuther scored the winning goal early in the third period and the Stars held the Marlies to just nine shots over the final two periods en route to handing Toronto its first loss in more than five weeks.

Bayreuther, a rookie defenseman, netted his second goal of the postseason at 4:31 of the third off a big shot from the center point during a Stars power play.

The Texas defense did the rest, allowing just four shots in the third period and a total of 22 for the game. Mike McKenna (12-5) made 21 saves for the victory.

Toronto grabbed a 1-0 lead with 2:09 to go in the first period, hemming the Stars into their own end for a prolonged shift before Travis Dermott‘s shot from the center point was redirected home by Ben Smith.

The Marlies owned a 13-6 advantage in shots in the first period, but were outshot 18-9 the rest of the way.

Texas killed off a penalty early in the second period and then pulled even at 2:45 when Curtis McKenzie was sprung on a breakaway by Dillon Heatherington. McKenzie beat Garret Sparks for his league-leading eighth goal of the postseason.

Sparks (11-3) finished with 22 saves but suffered his first home loss of the playoffs.

NOTES: Attendance was 8,219, the largest ever for a Marlies game at Ricoh Coliseum… Toronto had won 10 in a row since its last loss on Apr. 27, in Game 4 of the first round against Utica… The Marlies had also won 13 in a row on home ice, and 13 straight home playoff games… Texas improved to 6-2 all-time in road games during the Calder Cup Finals… The Stars held Toronto’s trio of Toronto’s trio of Andreas Johnsson, Miro Aaltonen and Carl Grundstrom scoreless for the second straight night… Toronto lost in regulation for just the fifth time all season when leading or tied after two periods (57-5-0-2).

2018 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. P2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Sat., June 2 – TORONTO 6, Texas 5 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Sun., June 3 – Texas 2, TORONTO 1
Game 3 – Tue., June 5 – Toronto at Texas, 8:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN, FSSW+
Game 4 – Thu., June 7 – Toronto at Texas, 8:00, TSN2, LNN, FSSW+
Game 5 – Sat., June 9 – Toronto at Texas, 8:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN, FSSW, FSSW+
*Game 6 – Tue., June 12 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN
*Game 7 – Thu., June 14 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN
*if necessary… All times Eastern